From the folks who brought you the Picturephone, AT&T now lets some customers (those with 3G phones in one of 160 select markets) stream live video over their mobile phones. Want to show your friend in LA how funny your dog looks in sunglasses? Turn on the video cam.
Startups like Kyte.tv already allow you to shoot and broadcast videos from your phone, but AT&T now let's you do it live, while you are still talking on the phone. I admit that is pretty cool. But is it worth an extra $5 to $10 a month? We'll soon find out.
AT&T needs to give people a reason to upgrade to their 3G network, and they hope this is it. Today, a cell phone without a digital camera seems crippled. Video is the next logical step, especially as wireless networks become faster. The problem is that it doesn't work with the iPhone because that is not a 3G phone (and the iPhone only takes pictures, not videos). So all those folks who just shelled out $500, if you want this feature you will have to buy another AT&T phone (or wait for the 3G iPhone to come out and pay another $500 for that). I'm scheduled to discuss this on CNBC tonight around 7:30 PM ET.